A combination package of the Moorish cities and a stay in Las Negras is very simple. Andalusia is very easy to reach by airplane. In case you want to enjoy the Moorish cities first, then relax, and recharge your batteries, you can start your trip in Malaga, Jerez, or Granada.
It is just as easy to start with Las Negras by flying into Almeria and then visit Gaudix, Jaen, Cazorla or Granada. You can fly back from any airport. In Spain, you are NOT required to fly back from the airport of arrival.
You can also combine your holiday with one of the many fiestas in Andalusia. The Spanish enjoy life, they love good food, lots of music and the southern temperament makes it all even more out of the ordinary.
What do you think about enjoying the sun, the beach, the culture, the incredible nature and a few days skiing in the Sierra Nevada next to Granada? Skiing in the sun with a splendid view over the White Mountain tops in the north and the Mediterranean Sea in the south. On a very good clear day, you can even see Morocco.
The Sierra Nevada's are snow-capped for much of the year. Skiing is possible from November until late May. The Sierra Nevada is only 45 minutes drive from the city of Granada, one hour from Granada airport and 2 hour drive from Malaga airport. It really is possible to spend the morning skiing in the snow and the afternoon sunbathing on the beach.
The ski resort of Sol y Nieve is located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Andalusia. It is the most southerly ski resort in Europe and is small in comparison to other European resorts. The Sierra Nevada ski resort has numerous runs of varying difficulties to satisfy all skiing desires. Snow cannons on some runs supplement natural snow. Being so far south, many skiers are pleasantly surprised to find the air temperature is usually warmer than other resorts.
There is a surprisingly active nightlife in the Sierra Nevada resort. Spaniards have a reputation for being 'night owls' and this can be witnessed even in a skiing resort. Most of the visitors come from Madrid and the cities of Andalusia. Weekends and banks holidays are particularly busy.
If interested let us know and we will arrange accommodation for you in the ski areas.
We can arrange a round trip according to your own wishes with or without a stay in Las Negras.
All hotels and hostels can be reserved in advance. You will receive vouchers for each accommodation along the route. Payment will be made at the location. There is no need to pay in advance.
If reservations for a car have been made the vehicle will be waiting for you at the airport on arrival and can be left behind at a different airport.
Cazorla origins stretch back six centuries before Christ, although the Romans, who named it Carcesa, officially founded it. Its splendor grew under Moorish and then Christian control. Today, the town has a medieval look about it, and boasts numerous springs, steep, narrow streets and stone houses with balconies full of flowers. There are two well-preserved castles (the Moorish La Yedra and the Christian Cinco Esquinas), both of which are of great historical significance. Testament to the town's former religious importance, five convents can be found amongst the ruins of the Santa Maria Church.
Cordoba was founded by the Romans and due to its strategic importance as the highest navigable point of the Guadalquivir River, it became a port city of great importance, used for shipping Spanish olive oil, wine and wheat back to Ancient Rome. The Romans built the mighty bridge crossing the river, now called "El Puente Romano". But Cordoba's hour of greatest glory was when it became the capital of the Moorish kingdom of El-Andalus, and this was when work began on the Great Mosque, or "Mezquita", which - after several centuries of additions and enlargements - became one of the largest in all of Islam.
When the city was reconquered by the Christians in 1236, the new rulers of the city were so awed by its beauty that they left it standing, building their cathedral in the midst of its rows of arches and columns, and creating the extraordinary church-mosque we see today. |
As well as the unique mosque-cathedral, Cordoba's treasures include the Alcazar, or Fortress, built by the Christians in 1328; the Calahorra Fort, originally built by the Arabs, which guards the Roman Bridge, on the far side of the river from the Mezquita, and the ancient Jewish Synagogue, now a museum. Cordoba's medieval quarter, once the home of the Jewish community, is called "La Judería" (The Jewry), a labyrinth of winding, narrow streets, shady flower-filled courtyards and picturesque squares such as La Plaza del Potro. In early May, homeowners proudly festoon their patios with flowers to compete for the city's "most beautiful courtyard" contest.
Granada was first settled by native tribes in the prehistoric period, and was known as Ilbyr. When the Romans colonized southern Spain, they built their own city here and called it Illibris. The Arabs, invading the peninsula in the 8th century and gave it its current name of Granada.
It was the last Muslim city to fall to the Christians in 1492, during the reign of Queen Isabel of Castile and her husband Ferdinand of Aragon. One of the most brilliant architectural wonders is the Alhambra of palaces and gardens built under the Nazari Dynasty in the 14th C.
This mighty compound of buildings - including the summer palace called Generalife, with its fountains and gardens - stands at the foot of Spain's highest mountain range, the Sierra Nevada.
At the centre of the Alhambra stands the massive Palace of Charles V, an outstanding example of Spanish Renaissance architecture. Close by you can find the Cathedral, including the Royal Chapel where Isabel and Ferdinand lie buried, Close by stands La Capilla Real - The Royal Chapel, the mausoleum of the Catholic Kings Isabel and Ferdinand, who chose to be buried in Granada because they saw its conquest as the crowning achievement of their reign (they had no way of knowing that this would soon prove to be their sponsorship of Columbus' journey). Isabel of Castille was at heart a woman of the Middle Ages, as illustrated by her precious collection of Flemish masters on view in the Sacristy. She wanted a small, humble mausoleum for her and all her descendants, befitting the follower of Saint Francis that she was. But she died before the chapel could be built, and spent some twenty years in a provisional tomb in the Franciscan convent that was built in the Alhambra in the shell of the palace mosque (and is now an elegant hotel, the Parador San Francisco, well worth visiting even if you can't afford to stay there). The architects, out of deference for her importance rather than her dying wishes, made the chapel larger and more luxurious than planned, with the result that it is neither humble nor truly grand; in any case, her successor and grandson Carlos V - the master of the new Empire which she had founded - judged it too unassuming for the masters of a reign on which the sun never set, and the Royal Mausoleum, for all of Spain's subsequent monarchs, was eventually moved to the blockbuster Escorial Monastery outside Madrid, built by his son, Felipe II.
The hill facing the Alhambra is the old Moorish casbah or "medina", called the Albaicin, a fascinating labyrinth of narrow streets and whitewashed houses with secluded inner gardens, known as "cármenes". The Plaza de San Nicolas, at the highest point of the Albaicin, is famous for its magnificent view of the Moorish palace.
The Sacromonte hill, which overlooks the city from the North, is famous for its cave dwellings, once the home of Granada's large gypsy community.
The name Granada is ancient and mysterious. It may mean "great castle", for the Roman fortress, which once stood on the Albaicin Hill. When the Moorish came here, the town was largely inhabited by Jews, for which they called it Garnat-al-Yahud - Granada of the Jews. The Jews are said to have been one of the first peoples to settle in Spain, even before the Romans.
History of the Alhambra The name Alhambra comes from an Arabic root which means "red or crimson castle", perhaps due to the hue of the towers and walls that surround the entire hill of La Sabica which by starlight is silver but by sunlight is transformed into gold. However, there is another more poetic version, evoked by the Moslem analysts who speak of the construction of the Alhambra fortress "by the light of torches", the reflections of which gave the walls their particular coloration. Created originally for military purposes, the Alhambra was an alcazaba (fortress), an alcázar (palace) and a small medina (city), all in one. This triple character helps to explain many distinctive features of the monument.
There is no reference to the Alhambra as being a residence of kings until the 13th century, even though the fortress had existed since the 9th century. The Nasrites were probably the emirs who built the Alhambra, starting in 1238.
The Alhambra became a Christian court in 1492 when the Catholic Monarchs (Ferdinand and Isabel) conquered the city of Granada. Later, various structures were built for prominent civilians also military garrisons, a church and a Franciscan monastery. Emperor Charles V, who spent several months in Granada, began the construction of the palace, which bears his name and altered the interior buildings. These measures were to cause interminable controversy often motivated by political agendas. The remaining Austrian kings did not forget the monument and have left their own more discreet impressions on it.
During the 18th century and part of the 19th, the Alhambra fell into neglect and was to see its salons converted into dung heaps and taverns, occupied by thieves and beggars. As the crowning blow, Napoleon's troops, masters of Granada from 1808 until 1812, were to convert the palaces into barracks. Therefore, the incredible neglect continued, until 1870 when the Alhambra was declared a national monument. Travelers and romantic artists of all countries had railed against those who scorned the most beautiful of their monuments. Since that date and up to now, the Alhambra, protected, restored, cared for and even improved, has been preserved for the pleasure and admiration of all.
Visiting the Alhambra
Upon entry to the Alhambra you will have been assigned a time slot for the Palace Nazaries. If you fail to enter during this half hour time slot, you will be denied entry to this stunning complex. It therefore makes sense to enter the Alhambra well before you assigned time. You can then visit other sections of the Alhambra beforehand. Logically it is best to visit first the Alcazaba then the Palace of Carlos V (with museums) before the Palace Nazaries. Then you can walk along the North wall towards the Generalife (gardens). To visit everything at a leisurely pace will require at least 3 hours.
Tickets for the Alhambra
The number of admissions per day is limited to protect the monument. Therefore, if you have not booked in advance it is imperative to turn up early in the day, especially during high season, to guarantee entry. Queues will start well before the 8.30 opening time. There are two ways to book in advance - in a BBV bank, or online or by phone.
BBV (Banco Bilbao Vizcaya)
All branches of this large bank provide a reservation system. You can sometimes choose your time slot for the Palacio Nazaries (see above). This reservation system must be used at least one day in advance. Tel 902 22 44 60
The above service is available online at http://w3.grupobbva.com/ALHAMBRA/alhambra/home.html
Visit the Alhambra's website for more details www.alhambra-patronato.es
Tickets can be reserved by phoning 902 22 44 60
If you have reserved a ticket, you will have to collect your ticket from the Western entrance. This is a long uphill walk from the city center so leave plenty of time to make sure you do not miss your time slot for the Palace Nazaries. Alternatively, jump on the No. 32 bus, which runs regularly from the center and will drop you right in front of the ticket office.
Lanjarón, 48 km zuidelijk van Granada, op bijna 700 m hoogte, ligt in het legendarische bergland Las Alpujarras, dat zich tussen de Siërra Nevada en de Costa del Sol in bevindt. Hier vond in de tweede helft van de 16de eeuw de befaamde opstand van de Moriscos plaats, de onder dwang tot het christendom bekeerde Moren die hierheen gevlucht waren. De opstand werd na enkele jaren bedwongen door Philips II, die toen wel zijn handen vol had, want ook in de Nederlanden was een opstand begonnen, die hij zoals we allen weten niet hebben te bedwingen. Het stadje Lanjarón, dat nu ruim 4000 inwoners heeft, bezit een uitzonderlijk groot aantal hotels, want het is tegenwoordig erg in trek. Wat niet te verwonderen valt, want het is schitterend gelegen, het plaatsje zelf is ook erg mooi, met vooral veel tuinen vol bloemen, en daarbij kan het zich ook nog verheugen in het bezit van een aantal geneeskrachtige bronnen, waarvan het water vooral voor lijders aan maag- en galaandoeningen aanbevolen wordt.|
Circa 30 km verder de bergen in, vlak ten zuiden van de Mulhacen, ligt Trevelez, het hoogste dorp van Spanje en zelfs van heel Europa. Hier komen de beroemde hammen vandaan, die pas echt goed zijn als ze een tijd in de sneeuw hebben liggen rijpen. Het is een donker ham, zoiets als de Ardenner, en in het Spaans wordt hij Jamón serrano, bergham, genoemd.
Er liggen nog veel meer van die pittoreske bergdorpjes in de Alpujarras en het is een schitterende gebied om tochtjes te maken. Er zit ook veel wild en in de riviertjes krioelt het van de forellen. Voor zo'n woest gebied lopen er tamelijk veel wegen doorheen, maar iemand die zich voor het eerst van zijn leven met een auto in de bergen waagt, moet er maar liever niet direct aan beginnen. De wegen zijn er erg smal, bochtig en steil, en vaak in slechte conditie.
The cathedral town of Gaudix is well off the beaten path, in the eastern confines of the Province of Granada, a large, bustling country town with a personality all of its own. Its history dates back to Phoenician and Roman times, and it played a major role in the Recon quest.|
The most interesting feature of the Guadix area is that almost half of the inhabitants of this large town live underground, in the southern part of the town. The jagged ochre terrain and the dazzling whitewashed chimneys and doors of the caves contrast dramatically with the snow-covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada, which loom above. The cave district is signGETed on the main street of the town as the "Barrio Troglodyte".
You can drive through the cave area, but you should also get out and take a stroll. The "troglodytes" very friendly people and are very house-proud, or "cave-proud", as you wish... If you show an interest in their homes, you will be sure to be invited in to have a look. Ever since the Moorish times, the Andalusians have been fond of living underground because it is the best way of escaping the summer heat waves, and don't be surprised if you are invited in to have a look around. Most of today's cave-dwellings are well appointed, like any other Spanish home, and some are even quite luxurious, with marble floors, fitted kitchens, faxes and internet connections. Purullena, a nearby village, has a disco inside a cave, and you can rent a cave to spend the night in many of the region's villages.
In the center of Guadix, you should not miss the Cathedral, founded in 1594, and the Cave Museum - Plaza de la Ermita Nueva S/n.|
The region is famous for its handcrafted earthenware, which is sold on the roadside in the nearby village of Purullena.
The desert landscape around the village of Benalúa de Guadix is especially impressive, and well worth a drive through the region. If you wish to explore this fascinating region more thoroughly, you can also drive from Benalúa de Guadix to the Spa called "Baños de las Alicun de las Torres" returning on the first road on the right after leaving the spa, which will take you back to the A92/N342 motorway. The total drive takes between 90 minutes and 2 hours.
When in Guadix, do not miss the fascinating Castle of the Calahorra, just a few miles to the East. This impressive fort was awarded to a Christian knight for his role in the Recon quest, and fitted by him with a gracious Renaissance courtyard made of Italian marble and by Florentine artisans. To get there; leave Guadix in the direction of Almeria on N324. You will soon be treated to the spectacular view of the round towers of the castle framed against the towering Sierra Nevada, which so often features in photographs and GETers. To visit the castle you must ask in the village where the caretaker or "guarda Del Castillo" lives, and drive him up with you for the visit.
The city of Jaen, in northern Andalusia, is rich in history, with great monuments such as the Cathedral, built between the 16th and 18th centuries, and the adjoining parish church or "El Sagrario". The city's Moorish castle, converted into a Parador, sits majestically on top of Mount Santa Catalina, and atop a nearby hill stands a monumental cross-engraved with a moving poem by Almendros Aguilar. It is worth climbing to the top just to see the spectacular view of the city and the rolling olive groves of Jaen!
Jaen has several fascinating churches, such as La Santa Capilla de San Andres, the Convent of Santo Domingo, the Church of La Magdalena with its charming courtyard, the Church of San Ildefonso, the Convent of Las Bernardas and the Churches of San Bartolomé and San Juan. The Museum of Jaen Province (Museo Provincial) possesses one of Spain's leading collections of Iberian art, from the pre-Roman period.
Each year huge bonfires celebrating the day of San Antonio Abad, the patron saint and protector of animals light up the plazas of Jaen. The town's neighborhoods vie with one another to build the biggest, brightest and most spectacular bonfire, while the people perform the traditional dance called "los melenchones". Seasonal delicacies are eaten such as pumpkin, sweet potatoes and popcorn.
Jerez de la Frontera became famous throughout the world for its sweet wines named after the town, which the British pronounced "sherry". It is called "de la Frontera " because it once stood on the frontier between the Moorish and the Christian realms.
The distinctive wine in Jerez has been exported for centuries; it was even praised by Shakespeare. It is distinctive because the strong sun gives the grapes high sugar content. British merchants have been involved in the wine trade here for centuries, producing and shipping a fortified wine known as sherry. Famous names of these dynasties can be seen here over the doors of the bodegas; Sandeman, John Harvey, Domecq, Gonzalez Byass.
The Spanish word bodega means, "cellar", but it has the generically meaning of "wine manufacturer". You can take a guided tour of the many Jerez bodegas. Some of the companies such as Gonzalez Byass, Pedro Domecq and Sandeman provided guided tours of the cellars on weekdays, followed by sampling of the various types of wine produced. Jerez is also world famous for its magnificent dancing horses, which you can see at the Real Escuela Andaluza de Arte Equestre - the Royal Andalucian School of Equestrian Art, at Avenida de Abrantes (Tel: +34 956 311111). On Thursday mornings, there is a spectacular display of dressage.
Jerez celebrates its famous Horse Fair at the beginning of May each year.
Jerez is also famous for its long-standing flamenco tradition, making it an excellent place to witness this extraordinary art. The Centro Andaluz de Flamenco (Tel: 956 349265) is housed in the Palacio de Penmartín, which stands on the Plaza de San Juan, No. 1.
Mortril (33 300 inw.) 70 km zuidelijk van Granada aan de Costa del Sol, is een oude Moorse stad, maar veel is daar niet meer van te zien.
Het weinige dat er na de vernielingen door barbarijse zeerovers nog resten van Arabische vestingwerken en een mooie 16de-eeuwse kerk. Maar het is evengoed een erg leuk stadje, met trapstraatjes en witte, geheel met bloemen begroeide muren. Het ligt niet direct aan zee. Daarvoor moeten we naar Puerto Mortril, het haventje, waar ook de meeste hotels zijn. In de omgeving zijn uitgestrekte velden waarin de lente en vroege zomer anjers, rozen en viooltjes bloeien. Mortril is een bijzonder feestelijk stadje. Het viert feest op 3 januari, 10 februari, 15 augustus en 15 oktober, dus vier maal per jaar.
Het klimaat is er heerlijk. De hoge bergen beschermen het tegen de koude noordewinden van de Siërra Nevada en de zeewinden tegen al te grote hitte in de zomer. Er is ook wel wat industrie gekomen: rietsuikerfabrieken en een petroleumraffinaderij met de bijbehorende chemische industrie, maar met de luchtverontreiniging valt het nog erg mee.
Ronda is one of Andalusia's loveliest towns. It stands on a towering plateau in the mountains of Malaga Province. It is famous through Spain for the plunging river gorge, which divides the medieval parts of the town in to two. This gorge is also known as El Tajo - The Cliff.
Ronda is also famous for its bullring, the oldest, and the most beautiful one in Spain. The arena itself is also the largest in Spain. When there are no fights, the bullring is open to visitors, and has a fascinating museum with many mementos of Spain's most renowned bullfighters.|
Ronda is located 50 km - 1 hour's drive - from San Pedro de Alcantra on the Coast. The road winds up through the mountains of the Sierra Bermeja, and then descends into the Serrania de Ronda and the town itself. Ronda is one of the most charming and fascinating towns in Andalusia. It is very popular since it has a wide range of cafés and restaurants yet retained all of its traditional charm and languid atmosphere.
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|Las Negras||Cabo De Gata Almeria Southern Spain||Art & Culture in Andalucia / Almeria Spain||Moorish cities in Spain||Trips in southern spain by car|
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